The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has issued a firm statement assuring that there are no foreign forces currently stationed within the Maldives. Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Abdulla Shamaal spoke with local News and explained that the MNDF conducts military exercises with other nations as part of the government’s foreign policy. These joint training operations aim to enhance the operational capabilities of the MNDF.
Furthermore, Lieutenant General Shamaal highlighted India’s ongoing support for the Maldives military. India has provided significant assistance, including a coastguard helicopter in 2011, a navy helicopter in 2016, Dornier aircraft in 2019, and various vessels. These assets primarily serve humanitarian purposes, such as transporting sick individuals, aiding stranded vessels, and assisting in various emergency situations. It’s worth noting that the operation of these aircraft and vessels remains under the complete control of the MNDF.
Vice Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef echoed Lieutenant General Shamaal’s sentiments, emphasizing that no foreign forces are conducting operations within the Maldives. The only foreign personnel in the country are those operating the aforementioned donated helicopter and Dornier aircraft. Major General Abdul Latheef reassured the public that the MNDF remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding the sovereignty of the Maldives.
Major General Wais Waheed added that the Maldives boasts several military training centers, all of which operate without foreign personnel involvement. He explained that Maldivian inspectors oversee the training of military officers, and any joint exercises with foreign countries are conducted through proper diplomatic channels.
In a related statement, Major General Hamid Shafeeq clarified that while the MNDF engages in various logistical training exercises with foreign countries, these exercises do not involve foreign forces playing a military role within the Maldives.
Colonel Ibrahim Hilmy, the Coastguard Commandant, emphasized the importance of the large ocean territory of the Maldives and how the donated Indian aircraft and vessels have significantly enhanced the coastguard’s capabilities in responding to emergency situations, such as medical evacuations and search and rescue operations. He underlined that these aircraft and vessels are operated by Maldivian military officers.
Surgeon General of the MNDF Brigadier General Dr. Ali Shahid Mohamed provided insights into the presence of Indian military medical officers at the Senahiya Military Hospital. These officers have been working there since 2012, strictly in a medical capacity. They are registered professionals who solely attend to patients. Brigadier General Dr. Mohamed also noted that medical officers from other countries periodically come to the Maldives for specific medical purposes.
Brigadier General Ahmed Ghiyas, the Male’ Area Commander, reaffirmed that no foreign forces are stationed in the capital, Male’, or any other area of the Maldives. He expressed his personal commitment to respond to any situation that could potentially jeopardize the country’s sovereignty.
Brigadier General Abdulla Zuhuree, the Director General of the Defence Intelligence Service, explained that the facility collects information about various foreign parties operating within the Maldives and shares this intelligence with relevant state agencies. The leadership of the MNDF reiterated their dedication to upholding the nation’s sovereignty and their readiness to respond to any situation that threatens national independence and sovereignty.